16 Scandi kitchen ideas – transform your space into a minimalist haven

Give the heart of your home the Nordic treatment with these Scandi kitchen ideas, from muted colour schemes and clever storage solutions to minimalist design
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  • If you’ve caught the Nordic interior design bug, this round-up of our favourite Scandi kitchen ideas will inspire you.

    Scandinavian style is all about making a home feel calm, cosy and inviting. Most Scandi schemes start with fresh white walls and simple wooden flooring to create a clean backdrop for colourful displays of homeware.

    A soothing colour palette, clean lines and surprisingly flattering lighting are just a few of the things that have made Scandi style kitchen ideas a hit.

    Scandinavian design is characterised by its clean lines, simplicity and minimalism. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that minimal means cold. Thanks to clever lighting and the use of wood and other natural material, Scandinavian-style rooms are filled with warmth, which has helped fuel their popularity.

    Scandi kitchen ideas

    1. Make a feature of canisters and glass jars

    A white wall and a white shelving unit holding jars, crockery and baskets next to three framed photographs

    Image credit: Douglas Gibb

    Simple Scandi kitchen ideas include making a feature of the everyday essentials, as shown above. Add interest to open kitchen shelving by decanting dried goods, such as flour, pasta and rice, into clip-top glass jars and lining them up on a shelf.

    Storing fruit and veg in natural hessian baskets is an affordable way to add relaxed country style to your kitchen. Try adding colour by growing herbs in zinc pots, too.

    2. Stick to a white colour palette

    A white Scandi kitchen with wooden worktops and open shelving

    Image credit: David Giles

    You can’t go wrong with a white kitchen when creating your own Scandi-style kitchen. ‘For Scandinavian kitchen interiors, a cool light colour palette is advised to create a sense of purity and calmness,’ says Darren.

    This makes it perfect for making the most out of small kitchens. Add warmth to the space by pair the white with wooden and copper accents. In a small kitchen, space is at a premium so make the most of every inch with open shelves for everyday items above the sink, as seen in this kitchen.

    3. Cast a warm glow with pendant lighting

    A Scandi kitchen with a wooden island and white herringbone wall tiles

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Light is incredibly important in Nordic design due to the long dark winter days. Scandinavians tend to create pools of light with low hanging pendant lights. Be playful with your kitchen lighting ideas with a slick design or splash of colour like these lovely pale turquoise shades. They will be at eye level, after all. Muted blues and greens are oh-so Scandi.

    4. Add warmth with oak

    A kitchen with wooden shelving and grey cupboards

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    A Scandi scheme can instantly be warmed with the addition of natural surfaces. Oak worktops, freestanding furniture or an open shelving unit will add character and lend a laid-back country vibe.

    Of course, open shelving is ideal for storing glassware, kitchen tools and cookbooks – a great way to add colour and a vintage look to your neutral Scandi kitchen ideas, too. Use houseplants to add colour and welcome the outdoors in.

    5. Make space for a dinner table

    A large white kitchen with exposed white brick, roof lights and a large island

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    Gathering together for meals as a family is incredibly important in Scandinavian culture. Make space for a dining table or breakfast bar to ensure the kitchen is the heart of the home.

    A dining area is also a great space to add warmth through texture and colour. Opt for a wooden table, soft furnishings and fresh flowers to add depth to an open-plan kitchen.

    6. Display items you use everyday

    A white scandi kitchen with a clock and open wooden shelving

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Nordic countries are famous for their minimalistic and streamlined style. However, this couldn’t be achieved without a few clever storage solutions. Keep worktops clear with shelves and hanging racks.

    Shelves are a great way to store items that you use every day like crockery, or tea and coffee caddies. Hang mugs and chopping boards from a rail for easy access when you need them.

    Hanging cooking utensils on a rack beside the hob is an easy way to give your kitchen a more homely feel and it’ll free up space inside kitchen cupboards, too. The same goes for a ceiling rack for hanging up pots and pans.

    7. Add authenticity with wood

    A white and wooden kitchen with blue and white splashback tiles

    Image credit: David Giles

    Wood finishes are a key part of creating an authentic Scandinavian kitchen. However, wood isn’t just for floors and worktops. Opt for wood or wood effect cabinet doors to showcase the natural material.

    ‘Look to light coloured wood like beech or ash for flooring, dining tables or worktops if budget allows,’ suggests Hayley. ‘Avoid stained or varnished woods for countertops as the raw, natural, untreated look is much more in-keeping with Scandinavian style.’

    8. Hide clutter in floor to ceiling cabinets

    A white floor to ceiling cupboard storing crockery and a microwave

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are a genius way of hiding clutter that can gather on kitchen counters. Invest in a cabinet with space to hide a microwave, kettle, coffee machine and other gadgets that clutter up worktops. Some cabinets have hidden worktops in that you can set up as a breakfast station.

    You simply open them up when morning rolls around and close them behind you as you dash out on the school run.

    9. Try two tone cabinets for a designer look

    A dark green and wood kitchen with a bookshelf above a yellow sofa

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    While most Scandinavian design relies on a muted colour palette, don’t be afraid to add personality with a splash of colour. ‘If colour is a must in your home, look to pale greys, pinks or blues but use these sparingly for maximum impact,’ advises Hayley.

    Stick to a simple colour palette that highlights the design like in this kitchen. The two-tone cabinets emphasise the clean lines rather than detracting from it.

    10. Add warmth with metallic accents

    A close up shot of a wooden worktop and copper pans hanging on the wall

    Image credit: David Giles

    Metallic accents – especially copper – will add warmth to a minimal white kitchen colour scheme. When working with a limited colour scheme play with textures, shapes and finishes. You’ll earn extra style points if you invest in some copper pans, both practical and pretty.

    This subtle hexagonal kitchen tile idea, copper rail and marble accessories come together to create a fuss-free kitchen that is full of depth and warmth.

    11. Accessorise with houseplants

    A pale grey and white open plan kitchen with an island and three pendant lights

    Image credit: David Giles

    House plants are a great way to soften the functionality of the space. ‘Don’t be afraid to accessorise with textured placemats, wall hangings or rugs in the kitchen,’ says Hayley.

    ‘Complete the look with some fresh flowers, houseplants or potted herbs for another nod to nature that’s typical of Scandinavian style.’

    12. Pair statement flooring with white walls

    A white Scandi kitchen with tiled flooring, a yellow table and bifold doors

    Image credit: David Giles

    Sticking to a neutral colour scheme doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with the design. Opt for playful geometric kitchen flooring ideas like in this kitchen. The bold zigzag pattern is made up of sleek clean lines featuring the Scandi style dream team – white and wood. However, it is also bursting with personality.

    Nordic design might be neutral and minimal, but it is important that you find away to stamp your personality on the space.

    13. Work in subtle pastels as a accent colour

    A white marble kitchen diner with pastel accessories and alcove shelves

    Image credit: David Parmiter

    If you want to add colour to your all-white scheme choose diluted colours that feel soft alongside the neutral base of white. Pastels are the perfect pairing, from baby blue and mint green to powder pink, adding a subtle accent colour without overpowering the effortlessly simple ethos of Scandi styling.

    14. Choose wire storage

    A kitchen wire storage rack with colourful tupperware

    Image credit: Emma Mitchell

    Give your kitchen a back-to-school look with this wire kitchen storage idea. A simple unit is the ideal place to store tumblers, Tupperware and clip-top glass jars. Be selective about what to display so the overall effect is attractive, not cluttered.

    15. Invite a friendly touch with family photos

    A cream kitchen diner with photos displayed on a shelf

    Image credit: Johanna Henderson

    If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the practice of Hygge, it is to surround ourselves with items that make us feel happy. What could be happier than filling the space with treasured photos of loved ones.

    Welcome framed photos into your social kitchen space to echo the sentiment. Use coordinating frames to prevent the look from feeling cluttered and overpowering. Remember you’re looking to make a statement, but keep it simple.

    16. Create a chalkboard wall

    A chalkboard wall behind a round wooden dining table

    Image credit: Tom Meadows

    Painting a large area of a wall in chalkboard paint to create a noticeboard is a simple Scandi kitchen idea that brings character to a pared-back room. For a more contemporary look, paint a section of wall from floor to ceiling and use a chalkboard pen to create a menu-inspired artwork.

    Write happy affirmations or messages to welcome guests, use the wall as suits to make your home feel happy.

    What is a Scandinavian kitchen?

    ‘Traditional Scandinavian design is characterised by functionality, clean lines and minimalism,’ explains Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising for Magnet. ‘To design a Scandinavian inspired kitchen is to create a space that is practical, but at no cost to style and aesthetic.’

    Layout is an important part of any Scandi style kitchen. To stick with the Scandinavian design movement, aim for an open-plan kitchen with plenty of space for the family to gather.

    If you only have a small kitchen to work with, you can still replicate this effect by introducing other elements of Scandinavian design, such as a muted colour palette and clever storage solutions to make the space feel bright and organised.

    Scandi-inspired kitchens tend to be very minimal, focusing on a muted colour palette of white, grey pale pink and blues. ‘In the kitchen you should look to work with muted tones and monochromatic schemes for units,’ says Hayley. ‘Matte finishes in particular lend themselves well to this style, as they tend to be more understated than the high-gloss finishes.’

    How do you style a Scandi kitchen?

    ‘When styling the kitchen, less is more,’ says Hayley. ‘Keep countertops decluttered and let textures and textiles do the talking to really embrace the minimalist way of life.’

    Hayley suggests styling a kitchen with simple and natural objects like fresh flowers, textured placemats, wall hangings and houseplants. A mug hanger attached to the wall is another great way to add a touch of personality to the kitchen. Try Denby Pottery if you fancy investing in some beautiful new mugs in muted colours.

    Just be careful not to go overboard, the beauty of a Scandinavian design is it’s simplicity. You don’t want to overwhelm the kitchen with clutter.

    The final touch is lighting. ‘Throughout the winter months, the days in the northern hemisphere are extremely short, with only a few hours of daylight,’ explains Darren Watts, Wren Kitchens Showroom and Design Director. ‘Unsurprisingly, the use of light is very important in Nordic design, with many interiors focusing on creating bright, well-lit spaces.’

    Opt for pendant lights over a kitchen island to cast a cosy glow over the entire kitchen. In small kitchens, cleverly placed lights on shelves will also work a treat.

    Have you been inspired by these Scandi kitchen ideas?

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